Posted on 07/04/20

One of the effects of the current Covid-19 crisis is that business owners and freelancers are finding their client contracts cancelled or delayed, leaving them with a loss of income and time on their hands.

Add the UK Government’s social distancing guidelines in place and you might think that it’s time to take a break. However, a little bit of strategy and planning now could put yourself ahead of the competition when we resume normal business operations.

Naturally, you may not want to spend lots of your hard-earned money on marketing right now, but there’s still plenty you can do either free of charge or for very little cost. Even better, we’ve listed our top online tips meaning that you can get going straight away

  1. Google My Business

We all know Google as a search engine, but did you know that it also operates as a business directory via Google My Business? It’s free of charge to set up/register your business and is especially good for those with a local customer base.

Having your business on Google My Business means that you show up on local maps when people search, you get better search engine optimisation (meaning people can find you more easily) and customers can leave you reviews (helping give confidence to future customers).

  1. Online workshop, webinar or podcast

One way for businesses to get their name out to lots of people at once is to run a workshop about their product/service. With social distancing currently in force, you’ll not be able to deliver something in person, but can you go online and run it via a platform like Zoom?

If The Business Village or other local business centre is the normal port of call to set up an in-person workshop, maybe you could ask them to promote your online version through their contact directory. With more people working from home right now, it could be just what they need to stay connected and stay up to date with business information and trends. You can view the latest offers from just a few of our tenants and friends right here.

If you would like to offer a service get in touch with Kevin Steel

  1. Ask your customers for a review

When you’re searching for a product or service yourself, we’re betting that the ones with lots of 5 star reviews stand out and give you confidence to purchase from someone new. It’s no different for people who are looking to purchase from you.

Asking for reviews is one of those things which often gets put to one side in the normal day to day rush, so take some time to get in touch with your happy clients and ask them to do a review on Google My Business or send you a testimonial to add to your website. Checkout what a few of  our tenants have to say about their experience of life at The Business Village

  1. Get blogging

Posting regular and relevant content on your blog helps search engines like Google rank you higher and also positions your website as a relevant answer to the questions your customers are asking. Even better if can put search keywords into your post.

If you start a blog, make sure that you add new content regularly. It could be monthly, fortnightly, weekly or daily – the choice is yours – but once you make a decision, stick to it. Nothing screams warning signs quite so much as a blog where the latest post was over 2 years ago.

Choose topics which are relevant to your target market and, when you publish your content, make sure you share it across your social media channels.

  1. Write a guest blog post (or two)

Writing about your area of expertise for another site helps to position you and your business as an authority, giving you more credibility with your potential customers. For example, a company guiding people on treks to the Himalayas could write a guest blog for a popular adventure travel blog.

Guest blogging can also help to get your brand directly in front of your target market and give you back links to your website from more popular sites (great for search engine optimisation).

  1. Be social

Love it or hate it, social media is an easy way to engage with your target audience. However, it can take a little work to build your following and create meaningful interactions.

It’s worth taking the time to develop a content strategy. This means knowing who your target market is, what they like, where they hang out and what they want to see. From there, you can plan and create content which is highly relevant to them. You can also tap into trending hashtags, relevant national days and current events.

Once you’ve posted, ensure that you engage with your followers and develop conversations to build a community around your brand.  Here’s the links to The Business Village’s existing social media channels:

  1. Email marketing

Do you have something you can give away at very low cost to yourself? Maybe free handout of tips relating to your business, an e-book, or a short workshop?

By getting people to sign up for your free product, you can then start to build an email list (make sure you follow GDPR guidelines) and send regular newsletters to keep people informed about your business and any new products.

Email marketing can be a really great way to build a community around your products and services, sometimes meaning that you have very little marketing to do whenever you launch something new. There’s lots of software out there to help create newsletters and manage your email lists, so shop around for the one which suits you the best.

If you haven’t already done so, why not sign up for our monthly news wire?  You can subscribe in the box at the top right of this page and we’ll keep you up to date with everything going on here at The Business Village.

  1. Be media savvy

Newspaper/magazine editors and radio broadcasters are often in need of content, especially daily publications. If their audiences are in your target market and you can think of an interesting angle about your business which will appeal them, send press release.

If it screams “I’m trying to get a free advert” you’ll probably get referred to their advertising department, so make sure you think of the best way to grab their interest.

  1. Talk to your friends

There’s an endless list of people you know from friends and family members through to former employers and the people you engage with on social media. They’re all people who may want your products/services, or who may be able to refer you to someone else, so take some time to create a list and get in touch with them.

Referrals are a great way to get new business – some statistics say that people are 4 times more likely to buy from you if they’ve been referred.

Conclusion

In these difficult times, you can’t afford to fall behind your competition so take a good look at your current marketing strategy and ask yourself whether you’re getting the results you’re looking for. Then go through the list and pick one or two tactics which will work best for your business and get started.

If you’re looking for a little help in the future, our tenants at the The Business Village can access business advice and support, along with the opportunity to connect with other business owners. We also run a range of events which are open for members of the local business community to attend. As soon as this crisis is over watch this space for further details and an update on what we are able to offer